If you’re thinking of banishing the autumn blues by having a fantastic snow break to look forward to this winter, you may think automatically of France, and it’s true that the UK’s nearest neighbour has a lot to offer skiers and snowboarders.
But there are many reasons why it’s also worth giving Italy serious consideration.
This beautiful country offers genuinely spectacular scenery, thanks to the stunning setting of most Italian resorts in the shadows of Monte Rosa in the north-west and the jaw-dropping Dolomites in the north-east.
Italy’s ski resorts encompass some of the world’s great domains, with the SuperDolomiti and Milky Way regions providing hundreds of kilometres of lift-linked pistes.
Equally, the fact that most Italian resorts are also near the nation’s four international borders (with Switzerland, France, Austria and Slovenia) gives them a richly cosmopolitan feel. Some even share pistes with ski bases in these next-door countries.
Especially if you are travelling as a family, you will find Italy great value for money, particularly when it comes to lift passes, equipment hire, classes and accommodation.
Yet another bonus if you like to be on your way quickly on holiday without long coach rides to your resort is that Italy has some of the shortest transfers from airports to ski resorts in the Alps.
You will also find an excellent range of skiing and boarding terrain, with hugely varied runs catering for novices and intermediates and those who need to push themselves a little more. The slopes are also very well maintained, with good snowmaking facilities – which is very important given Italy’s southern latitude.
Infrastructure has improved hugely in recent years. So if you’ve been considering Italy ski resorts 2013 is a great year to go.
You’ll love this nation’s laid-back approach to skiing. People are friendly, the food and wine are wonderful, and the ‘pistas’ are often almost empty at mid-day while leisurely lunches are being enjoyed.
And the southern location means many hours of glorious sunshine which you can bask in if you’re in no hurry to get back on the slopes in the afternoon.
There are a couple of things to bear in mind that are particular to the country. Firstly, the national policy on youngsters is clear. Children under 14 must wear helmets on the slopes at all times.
Secondly, the approach to going off-piste is varied. Where it’s allowed, you’ll find wonderfully challenging virgin terrain. However, some resorts prohibit this kind of skiing, and others may fine off-pisters who aren’t carrying the right anti-avalanche equipment.
So if this kind of skiing is vital to your trip, choose your base accordingly and book somewhere you’ll be able to get off the beaten slopes with your resort’s blessing.
Chalet accommodation provides a great base for your ski trip. Look into Crystal ski chalets, offering superb home cooking, a relaxed ambience and a highly personalised service, as well as outstanding value.
Flights on Crystal Ski winter breaks are available from Doncaster and Newcastle.
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